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How to Evaluate if a Cloud-Based FTP Solution is Right for Your Business
Martin Horan

By: Martin Horan on May 8th, 2019

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How to Evaluate if a Cloud-Based FTP Solution is Right for Your Business

FTP Solutions

Does your organization need a cloud FTP solution? File sharing is a key aspect of many businesses, but unless you have a uniform, secure way to share files, your data could be at risk.

Cloud FTP solutions offer all the benefits of an in-house solution, but they are provided by expert hosts who manage the solution for you. And because these are cloud-based solutions, your organization doesn’t have to purchase any hardware, license any software or securely house the system.

If you’re wondering whether or not this is the time to invest in a cloud FTP solution, you should evaluate your current methods and determine if they are meeting your business needs. Here are the most important factors to consider when evaluating your need for a cloud-based FTP solution.



To determine if a cloud-based FTP solution is best for your business, you need to evaluate your needs from a compliance perspective. Ask yourself two questions: what compliance measures should you be aligning with and are you effectively aligning with these measures?

Let’s look at the first question. If your company subject to any of the following compliance guidelines, you may need to consider a cloud FTP solution:

  • ITAR
  • FedRAMP
  • NIST
  • CJIS
  • SOX
  • GLBA

A top cloud FTP solution has many of the security measures covered by these compliance guidelines built into the solution. So, when you adopt the solution, you can automatically check off a number of boxes in terms of compliance.

Once you have identified the compliance guidelines that you need to align with, you should assess how well your organization is aligning with the appropriate guidelines. Do you have all the necessary compliance security controls in place? How well are your current security controls working? If you can identify gaps in your compliance measures, a cloud FTP solution could be the ideal option for you to close those gaps.

To maintain compliance, your team must invest a lot of attention and effort to the process. However, with a leading cloud FTP solution that has compliance measures already built in, you simply sign up for an account, move your files to the solution and you’re automatically in better alignment with these guidelines.


Granular Access Controls

Do you need a way to better control access to specific files? Granular access controls for your file sharing solution allow you to determine who has access to your solution and how they can use data stored on your solution. Granular controls allow you to assign the following function determinations down to the individual employee:

  • Upload – The ability to copy files to the FTP server from your local file system
  • Download – The ability to copy files from the FTP server to your local file system
  • Delete – The ability to delete files from the FTP server
  • List – The ability to allow directory listing
  • Folder Creation - The ability to create private and shared folders and set unique permissions for each folder
  • Deny Access - The ability to restrict files for employees who shouldn't have access to them

Each of these permissions play a role in your efforts to ensure sensitive data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, both inside and outside your organization. Not all threats come from outside hackers. Many data breaches, whether intentionally or unintentionally, are due to employee negligence. When you have a cloud FTP solution, your administrators can manage and monitor these access controls, ensuring only employees who should have access to data actually do.


Onsite and Offsite Data Recovery

Do you need a cloud FTP solution that includes data backups and standby disaster recovery? Backing up your solution is a necessity that many companies overlook. You never know when your system could lose power or even be the target of a cyber attack. Sometimes a file is simply deleted by mistake. Backing up your data is crucial to maintaining productivity and data security. Ask yourself if you need guaranteed backups to be a feature of your file storage and sharing solution. If you have files that you can’t afford to lose, the answer is yes.

However, there are more factors to consider in terms of backups than just the ability to save your data. You should also consider the locations of the backup that can be used to restore your organization to normal operations. Why is location important? Having both onsite and offsite backups ensures that if data is compromised, deleted, or corrupted at one location, it can still be recovered from the other location. A top cloud solution like FTP Today’s GOVFTP will be duplicated nightly at another location over 500 miles away to ensure standby disaster recovery.

Talk to the different solution providers you’re considering about their recovery policies, and ensure that, in the event of an issue, they can return your business to normal operations as soon as possible.


Ease of Use

There’s little sense in adopting a cloud FTP if your team won’t actually use it. Many companies overlook usability in favor of cost or additional features. While other aspects of a solution may be important, usability can mean the difference between your team sharing files in a secure manner and finding a non-secure work-around for file sharing. For example, if the file sharing solution you choose is too difficult to navigate, your employees may share files via email or download them to a non-secure USB drive. Data compromises are a possibility with both of these nonsecure sharing options. One of the best ways to prevent your employees from violating your data sharing policies is by choosing a secure solution that’s easy to navigate and use.

If you want to gauge the usability of a solution, you should schedule a demo to see the solution in person. This provides teams with an opportunity to see how the solution functions, ask questions, and determine if they will actually use cloud FTP. If a solution is easy to use and secure, you have found a compatible option for your team. If the solution is overly complicated and not user-friendly, you may want to search for an option that won’t push employees to find a work-around.

Another usability factor to consider is the need for built-in best practices. Your employees often can’t be trusted to follow guidelines, like secure password creation for example, on their own. However, if you have a secure cloud FTP that has these best practices built-in, your employed are required to follow them. Your employees can use features like expiring links to easily share files, but because the link expires, you don’t have to worry about future compromises.

As you consider your options for secure file sharing solutions, keep these features in mind. Determining what you need out of a solution prior to starting your search can streamline the decision-making process. When you find a top cloud FTP that can keep your data secure, ensure you’re compliant, and still meet the usability needs of your team, you’ll know you’ve found the right solution.


Want to learn more about how the private cloud differs from the public cloud? Download this free guide now.

About Martin Horan

Founder of FTP Today and an expert in secure file transfer and Internet protocols. A software and IT geek since a young age, Martin has successfully led his companies through the digital age by spotting market niches and filling them with quality IT services.

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